NUI Galway Academic Awarded European Research Council Consolidator Grant

Dr Anne O’Connor, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway. Photo: Anne O'Connor
Dec 10 2020 Posted: 12:24 GMT

Dr Anne O’Connor from the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in NUI Galway has received the first ever European Research Council Consolidator grant awarded to a project on translation and the first ever Consolidator grant in languages in Ireland.

Dr O’Connor’s PIETRA project is the first, large-scale, multilingual study of the translation products and processes that underpin communication in global religion. The project focuses on translation practices in the institution of the Catholic Church and the multilingual communication of religious messages against a background of technological change.

PIETRA studies how the Catholic Church has used forms of mass media in its communicative goals, asking key questions about the consistency of message in a large multilingual institution across different languages, cultures and communicative formats.

The ERC announced the winners on (9 December 2020) of its latest Consolidator Grant competition for mid-career researchers. The funding is part of the EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and worth in total €655 million. With this support, the new grantees will be able to consolidate their teams and have far reaching impact.

In this call, researchers of 39 nationalities received Consolidator Grants. The research projects proposed by the new grantees cover a wide range of topics in physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Speaking about her award, Dr Anne O’Connor, NUI Galway, said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been awarded this prestigious grant from the European Research Council. It provides an exciting opportunity to study the multilingual output and translation strategies of large institutions and will allow us to develop novel insights into religious translation worldwide. I am extremely grateful to all of my colleagues at NUI Galway who have helped me in preparing the grant proposal and delighted to have such positive news at the end of this challenging year.”  

Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, said: “This is a remarkable project that considers a huge challenge for a religious organisation like the Catholic Church: how to keep a consistent message across different languages in an era of massive transformations in communication associated with social media, including Facebook and Twitter. How does a global church respond in real time? The project will capture this through big data analysis and fine grained reading of meaning in multiple languages. I can’t wait to see the results.”

PIETRA analyses the translation processes and products of the Catholic Church across three different media (print, web and social media) and in two different time periods to advance understandings of how multilingual dissemination intersects with technological change and institutional ideology. The innovative methodological design offers a completely new approach to the study of religious translation, on a scale that has not been attempted before.

ERC President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: “This funding not only empowers bright minds from across Europe to pursue their most ambitious ideas at a critical stage of their careers, but also helps train the youngest generation of researchers as members of their ERC teams. To prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, Europe must stick to the vision of investing in frontier research, which has proved time and again its crucial added value. That is why so many count on Europe’s leaders to endow the “Excellent Science” pillar of Horizon Europe with the resources essential to strengthen Europe as a whole.”


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